The Ethical Tea Partnership, Taylors of Harrogate, Mother Parkers, and the International Trade Center (ITC) is delivering training to Ceylon tea farmers using an extension methodology that has not previously been used in the country.
Sri Lanka’s system of tea cultivation is changing. Tea estates have agreed to hand over small plots of land to their workers so that in three years’ time, those workers will be in control of their own lives and will grow, manage, and sell their fresh leaf into the factories.
For this major change to take place successfully, the new tea farmers need training, advice, and support, and this training initiative, introduced in Indonesia and now widely used in Africa, gives small groups of farmers hands-on training to help them increase yields and quality, manage the land, and earn more from diversified crops.
The first of the courses took place over four days. Participants from 10 selected estates attended. They were joined by planters from other estates who were eager to take part in the project. Senior and junior managers sat through all the course to show how seriously the Sri Lankan industry is taking this enterprise.
The aim is to train local Sri Lankan growers to become trainers and to then take the training out to more farmers over the next three years and beyond.